Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Let us all learn from David Copperfield

The latest celebrity rape controversy involves David Copperfield, who is being investigated for inviting a woman he met backstage at one of his shows to a private island he owns in the Caribbean, and then forcing himself upon her after she arrived. It remains to be seen if these charges against the illusionist are legitimate, or will soon "disappear."

What isn't in dispute is that the exposure this sordid affair is getting will make it more difficult for the next rapist who wants to invite a strange woman to his private island and then do his thing.

Although this particular predilection only applies to a razor thin, means-tested slice of the rapist population, it still underscores the squeeze rapists of all economic backgrounds have been feeling for some time now.

According to Department of Justice statistics, reported rape in America has fallen almost five fold in the last 30 years. While much of this can be attributed to an overall decline in crime, and the awareness raised by Take Back the Night rallies and Lifetime movies of the week, let us not overlook the roles our celebrities have played in this surprising reduction.

Before Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson had their troubles, a line such as "let's go up to my hotel room and check out the impressive array of pay-per-view movies" was a viable means to a rapey end. Likewise, if it wasn’t for William Kennedy Smith, how would have a generation of girls ever learned not to join a guy they'd just met in a bar for a stroll down a secluded beach?

I hope you don’t think I’m blaming the victim here, or making light of topic as serious as rape. I’m not, really. I just like to believe that the mistakes of celebrities like David Copperfield can make rape even rarer. Because when people aren’t raped, everybody wins. Besides the rapists, of course.

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